About me

Just so you know: Priesting Pic (SU)c

Born in 1969 (I’ll leave you to do the maths) I live in Hampshire, England, with my husband and a musical son now at Uni!

I was until 2013 a Reader in the Church of England and until 2012 a Trustee of Mothers’ Union for the Diocese of Winchester. I enjoy walking and wildlife, a spot of photography, gardening and good music of almost any genre. Prior to all the theology stuff, I used to have time to silk paint, knit and cross-stitch!

A bit of a biography

I was born and raised in Minstead in the New Forest which is famous as the final resting place of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the location of a regicide: William Rufus had a close and terminal encounter with an arrow on the edge of the parish a few centuries before my birth. We moved to nearby Lyndhurst whilst I was at Sixth Form College, but have remained connected to All Saints Church in Minstead ever since.

Three years at University in Aberystwyth gave me quite an inheritance – a husband being just one of them! We met through St. Mike’s, the church we both attended – and eventually he came to dinner once too often. St. Mike’s was the growing ground for our Christian faith, and many friendships we retain. There are whole generations of ministers whose faith story can be found to have roots in St. Mikes.

Aberystwyth has a tendency to retain a hold over all students who pass through, not just those who find or develop faith there. I also acquired a fantastic group of ‘geek’ friends as we were at college during the rapid growth in the use of computers, but before they reached into our homes. Courtesy of these friends I was given my own ‘room’ in something called AberMUD (I have partied with all its original creators) in which I believe I was the first making tea after Armageddon. To stay with this ever expanding friendship network, in later years they put me on Bullet (I don’t do technical) and finally I took myself to LiveJournal and Facebook. Now, I’m here, still working out how to do ‘geekie’ things with their help. My grateful thanks folk, especially to Alec!

A job at The Look Out led me to Bracknell in (what was then still) Berkshire. Here I curtsied to HM The Queen, dressed as the ‘Bracknell Bear’, abseiled off it’s tower, and watched from the same tower as Windsor Castle burned. I got married and settled there, eventually finding a spiritual home at Warfield Church, as a result of which we spent several years leading worship and sharing in the running of a new church ‘plant’ into the school on a new estate (which we couldn’t afford to move to ourselves.)

Our son was born whilst we lived there, but I didn’t take to remaining in Bracknell as a ‘mum’ and we moved to Yateley (back in Hampshire) soon after: the result of a Sunday afternoon spent eating KFC in front of a cricket match before attending the evening service at St. Peter’s.

In the years since then, St. Peter’s has given me various challenges; leading All Age Services, helping organise a Millennium Festival, Ladies Suppers and meeting the people that eventually led me to be a member of Mothers’ Union. An interregnum (an Anglican “pause” between vicars) and requests to speak at a ‘Women’s World Day of Prayer’ service, and a chapel at Winchester Prison, were part of my first hesitant steps into preaching. Feeling out of my depth I sought help from the Diocesan Vocations Adviser, and I rather ‘fell’ into ministry as a Reader!

Following licensing in 2009, my ministry changed at reasonably dramatic rate. Another vacancy left me looking after the “occasional offices” (baptisms, weddings and funerals) but only able (as a Reader) to do funerals. Before the last vicar left he (and others) challenged me to stop ignoring the number of people who said I was actually called to be priest, and I spent 18 months in what is known as “discernment“. In Holy Week 2012 I was recommended for training for ordination, and so in September 2012 I started another training course (at Ripon College Cuddesdon), at which time this blog gained it’s third name change since I started it in January 2009! This time I think it’s a name that will last, because God just keeps on calling me onwards 😉

I was ordained Deacon at Winchester Cathedral at Petertide 2014, priested in 2015, and am serving my title (curacy) in the parish of St. Mary’s Old Basing and Lychpit as a Self-Support (Non-Stipenduary) Minister. 2016-2017 sees me back in a liminal space – discerning where God is calling me next, and to what!

12 Responses to About me

  1. grum says:

    Hi love,

    Looking good
    I’ll have to get you some more pictures!!

    G xxx

  2. ramtopsrac says:

    What I want to do is get this to work as the first page viewed on the site, and then have the one marked currently as ‘home’ re-labelled ‘Blog’ as the next tab. But I don’t know how to do that yet…

    • Hi

      Apologies this reply is a little tardy but I’ve only just come across your blog.

      From your wordpress back-end create a new page called ‘Blog’, don’t worry about putting any content in.

      Then go to ‘Settings > Reading’, change the top option to ‘A static page’, then change the Front Page drop down box to ‘About me’ and the Posts Page to ‘Blog’.

      You may have to tweak the order that the pages are displayed in to get the menu looking as you wish.

      Congratulations on running a fine blog

      Corbs

      • ramtopsrac says:

        Corbs how the world has moved on!

        When I wrote that (20 months ago) I hadn’t understood that what people want to see first is what I’m saying or thinking that might be relevant to their lives, and then once their interest has been caught they may want to find out more about me!

        I think it’s brilliant that Mothers’ Union Enterprises are now inviting diocese to use WordPress for their own blogs – something I’ve been saying for er, 19 months at least! I shall blog about this imminently!!!

  3. Hi Rachel,

    Congratulations on your 3 weeks since being licensed 🙂 That goes to Ernie and Ian too. It was good to read of happy celebrations in Grapevine – would have loved to join in!

    I am looking forward to reading some of your blog while still in Taxes with our oldest son, his wife and our two grandsons (Rhys is 7 weeks old on Sunday, the catalyst for my visit). Browsing is so much harder in PNG on dial-up 😦

    Every blessing as the Lord continues to lead and challenge you!

    Nicki

  4. ramtopsrac says:

    Thanks for the wishes, and taking the time to look Nicki – not sure you’ll have learnt much or found anything to interest you though, but would be interested t know if you did.
    Congrats on the new Grandchild to all concerned.
    Every blessing on your ministry and your family time.

  5. Kevin Scott says:

    Hello Rachel

    Thankyou for an excellent blog and a really positive outlook on ministry.

    Can we put a link to you on our parish blog?

  6. Alison says:

    Hi

    I am so excited that I’ve stumbled across your blog – its such a blessing and interesting too as we are in the same Diocese ! I am in the throes of discerning my vocation which others say they have noticed in me yet which I find hard to believe except my mind constantly is turning it all over. I found this blog by googling “lay reader” type information yet just typing in those words and looking up the information available just terrifies me. I feel if I am being called to some kind of service it will be a long calling – I take one step forward, get scared, then three back again ! Thank you again for your blog, I so look forward to reading more and sharing your journey!

    Best wishes, Alison

    • ramtopsrac says:

      Thank you so much for the encouragement of knowing that in some small way my ramblings have helped someone.
      From what you tell me, God is at the very least nudging you forward into some sort of authorised ministry. I know it’s seriously scary stuff but do take the idea seriously, and let God have his way in your life. If you don’t have one already, ask our lovely DDO lady to suggest a spiritual director for you. The journey of ministry is not one to be taken in isolation from either your family, your parish, or those who can wisely view your life from the sidelines and encourage your conversations with God along the way.
      I am tempted to suggest that if we’re in the same diocese we might meet up depending on how the geography works as I’m way up the NE corner. Feel free to comment again, if you feel that might be helpful.

  7. dltbooks says:

    Dear Rachel:

    I write on behalf of Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd.

    Recently we published ‘The Jesus Feminist: God’s Radical Notion that Women are People too’ by Sarah Bessey.

    Filled with beauty, hard truth, and brave vulnerability, Jesus Feminist urges the church to stop asking “man or woman” as a qualification for ministry and to start helping everyone find freedom in the fullness, hope, glory, and work of Christ.

    May I send you a copy in the hope you might include it on your blog?

    Take care,

    Will

  8. Bob Trubshaw says:

    Hi Rachel

    I’ve put together what I think is the first attempt to look at Mothers Union banners as a short – and very ‘preliminary’! – PDF booklet. I’d like to include both the account you have of your own feelings about the Minstead MU banner, together with your photo of this banner and also the ‘get together’ of MU banners in Winchester Cathedral.

    The aim is to encourage members of other churches to ‘document’ their banners (and, although beyond the scope of my short work, maybe other ecclesiastical needlework created by parishioners too).

    Struggling to find an email address for you to get permission (or not!). Please get back to me (email edited out).

    Many thanks

    Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s